Monday, October 1, 2018
HALLANDALE BEACH – Well Defined parlayed an easy early lead into an easy victory in the $400,000 In Reality Division of the 2018 Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday at Gulfstream Park, providing Stonehedge Farm’s Gil Campbell and trainer Kathleen O’Connell with their 11th victories in the series for juveniles sired by stallions standing in Florida.
“I don’t keep count, because they’re all very special,” said O’Connell after her first success in the 1 1/16-mile FSS open division finale. The race co-headlined the eight stakes program worth $1.325 million, along with the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile FSS finale for fillies.
Well Defined went right to the lead under Carlos Montalvo and set comfortable fractions of 24.57 and 48.33 seconds for the first half-mile. Garter and Tie, who caught Well Defined by a half-length in the seven-furlong Affirmed last time out, progressed along the backstretch to enter contention heading into the far turn. Emisael Jaramillo sent Garter and Tie after the pacesetter on the turn but was never able to make a serious threat as Campbell’s homebred gelding drew off to a 7 ½-length score in 1:44.47.
“Unbelievable horse," Montalvo said. "For the distance he relaxed even more. Miss O’Connell did an amazing job with him in the morning teaching him to relax with the pony. When we got to the backside he let me set to cruise control and catch our breath, so when we got to the front side it was over. I didn’t have to ask him, it was an amazing ride.”
Garter and Tie, the 7-5 favorite, finished second, 14 ½ lengths ahead of Gump.
Well Defined is a son of With Distinction and broke his maiden at first asking at 4 ½ furlongs on June 2 before finishing third in an optional claiming allowance, then second in the Affirmed. He's been a work in progress. “He’s always shown he has a lot of talent," O'Connell said. "He was like a mischievous Dennis the Menace. It’s just getting it all together at the right time." Well Defined raised his earnings to $317,600 on a record of 2-1-1 in his four starts.
Although Well Defined was unable to hold off Garter and Tie in the second leg of the FSS series, O’Connell had no qualms about his ability to carry his speed around two turns. “I actually liked him better going farther," she said. "To me it’s so much easier on a horse rather all the hoopla going short." O’Connell recently saddled the 2,000th winner of her career to rank second all-time among women trainers.
She was noncommittal when asked if Well Defined could be headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. “I’m going to enjoy today, as I’m sure [Mr. Campbell] will, and go from there,” she said. “We’ll see how he comes out of the race and come up with a plan that makes sense.”
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